Welcome to SWO
Sufi Women Organization (SWO) was founded by Dr. Nahid Angha, and established in 1993 under the auspices of the International Association of Sufism, the only Sufi organization recognized as a United Nations NGO/DPI. As a forum of all women, across all backgrounds and faith traditions, SWO has been tremendously successful in gathering and supporting women from diverse backgrounds who share dedication to the protection and advancement of human rights. SWO contributes to many international organizations, including through its own grantmaking initiative, Women's Wisdom Women in Action Service Appreciation Grants. SWO Membership is open to people of all genders, who support human rights and dignity for all people, especially the women and children of the world. Our members include students, teachers, mothers, fathers, grandparents, therapists, aid workers, professionals, physicians, social workers, community activists, and more.
No individual stands alone; we cannot underestimate the strength and determination of the women of our past,
who began a journey toward women’s equality long ago, nor should we underestimate
the women of the world who continue to keep a peaceful transformation alive in our communities.
– Dr. Nahid Angha
Women’s Wisdom: Women in Action
Service Appreciation Grant
The Women’s Wisdom: Women in Action program established in 1999 by Dr. Nahid Angha, is offering Annual Service Appreciation Grants. Service Appreciation Grants honor and support those who have shown excellence in the following areas:
Significantly improving the quality of life of women through social programs: health care, employment, and conflict resolution
Advocating to reduce poverty among women
Improving gender equality in public and/or private life
Promoting women’s and girls’ right to access education
The Women’s Wisdom: Women in Action Service Appreciation Grant program is designed to honor and support the work of a woman or a women-led organization in rural neighborhoods. Nominations for candidates is solicited and invited solely by the Women in Action program. All candidates must be nominated by a colleague(s) or by an individual(s) who has come to understand the work of the woman or women-led organization, and all nominees are reviewed by a panel of judges. Previous recipients include:
Itaf Awad, Dabbouriya, Galilee, helped establish the Dabbouriya Village Forum of Women, a committee of 15 women within a wider community who work on issues of social justice and equality in order to promote the status of the community’s women. Itaf’s voluntary work in Jenin helps women facing very difficult conditions given the Israeli military occupation and its impact on impoverishing their community. She has created an environment for compassionate listening by holding stress-related exercise workshops giving direct and immediate help for the women most in need. The 2018 WWWA grant has benefited 45 Palestinian women and in 2019 benefited 55 Palestinian women.
Solange Aquino, Portugal, helps African immigrant families and children with a project to fight against poverty for a population of mostly African young girls, creating the “Youth on the Move” group, which developed volunteer activities and education within the community to care for small children while their mothers attended literacy classes. Solange has helped the members of the community with financial independence by helping them in creating and selling their art and jewelry. With the help of the WWWA 2018 grant, 32 were benefited (13 African women and 19 children).
Dima Samman, Jerusalem, is a Palestinian-Jerusalemite novelist and human rights activist. Dima was born and raised in occupied Jerusalem. She is currently the Director General of the Palestinian Ministry of Education. She believes that through education women can change their lives, and that young men must be educated in order to change society toward the better. The WWWA grant awarded to Dima was used to provide retreats to help a great number of women to learn to express their problems, their challenges and feelings through writing.
Ruth Nalyanya, Kenya (Honoree 2019, 2021 & 2022). Through the grassroots-based Peace Path Development Initiative, Ruth operates at the village level with the mobilization of rural women from two villages in Kenya to undertake economic activities such as planting and harvesting crops of beans, maize and sugarcane. Ruth’s priority project for 2022 was chicken farming for meat with the members of the Eshirandala Mirembe and Wekhonye Women Group Initiative. Her work has made women less vulnerable to male manipulation, as poverty in the households has been linked to wide-spread women- and gender-based violence. The objectives are to strengthen the role of the women in their communities and promote the dignity of the women and girls through sustainable economic empowerment activities. The WWWA grants from 2019, 2021 & 2022 benefited 40 women from the two villages each year.
Fatima Sheriff Alhassan, Nigeria, courageously promotes and advocates for displaced women and children as a result of insurgency in the Borno state. With help of the Sufi Women Organizations’s WWWA grant, Fatima founded a free school, which began with 20 students in 2016 and grew to benefit 663 women and children. Fatima has played a vital role in mobilizing the community to learn through education and promoting good nutrition, hygiene, and awareness of sexual abuse.
Jane Keji Alex
Jane Keji Alex, South Sudan, has a passion and strong work ethic that moved her to the social workspace where she serves rural communities to uplift and empower HIV positive women and children who have been affected by the protracted war in South Sudan. WWWA grants have helped her to support women through adult education and enroll girls to join schools that provide vocational training for girls who have gone through war trauma, including rape. Jane founded Wipe My Tears Foundation (WTF) together with a diverse group of other rural women from different ethnicities and religions. These are women who have hope in change and have experienced different challenging situations during and after war.
Isabelle Kamariza, Rwanda, is the Founder and President of Solid’Africa, a non-profit organization operating in Rwanda since 2011. Her mission is to help vulnerable patients in public hospitals by providing food, hygienic products and other services, with the goal to accelerate the patient recovery process, preserve patient dignity, and promote equity. She was the recipient of the Young African Women Leaders Forum Award, a CYRWA (Celebrating Young Rwandan Achievers) awardee. Sufi Women Organization grants helped to provide basic needs, food and water to patients in one of Rwanda’s hospitals.
Tecla Namachanja, Kenya (Honoree 2021 & 2022). Through the Shalom Centre for Counseling and Development, a Kenyan NGO, that provides five-day healing circle meetings for young, affected women in the Chelebei, Chongeiwo location of Mt. Elgon, Tecla has been responding to relational, structural, and traumatic needs of women in communities affected by violent conflicts. These women are identified and mobilized by a peace mother and a member of the local peace committee. The WWWA grants awarded to Tecla benefited 40 participants for 2021 and 2022 in each of the healing circles most affected from their target group. These five-day healing circle meetings create and hold trusted and safe spaces for these women to become aware of their dark traumatizing past, and to confront and process it as they embark on their healing journey.
WWWA’s contribution is a microloan program in Ethiopia through the Denan Project, whose volunteer members secure necessary resources for highly disadvantaged people. This microloan is for a group of 10 women who help impoverished communities become self-sustainable with resources to provide health care, education, and other critical assistance.
Munkila “Amina” Sanders
Munkaila Amina Sanders, Ghana. The Yendi Project, a grassroots project organized by Munkaila “Amina” Sanders serves women in the Ghanaian northern region (Dagomba, Mamprusi, and Konkomba areas) where bread is a staple food, but is scarce and expensive in these rural areas. The decreased access to bread is an ongoing issue, and girls walk miles to buy daily bread for the village. Amina’s Yendi Project (named for the village Amina is from) teaches baking skills by holding classes and helping with the construction of ovens in the villages for selected girls and women. 12 Women and girls benefited from the WWWA Grant in the 4-day classes. This project has the potential to nutritionally affect the lives of many people and to be transformative for the people of the villages around Yendi town.
Munkaila “Amina” Sanders, Ghana
The Yendi Project, a grass roots project organized by Amina Sanders, is a small group of people working to make a difference in the lives of people in the villages of Northern Ghana. Many in this region face food insecurity, and it can be difficult for people to obtain basic food for their health and sustenance. Amina’s dream was to train men and women in her village in cooking skills. Funds from SWO’s Service Appreciation Grant have supported Amina in holding classes and helping with the construction of ovens for girls and women, who are able to increase access to bread and staple foods in families and surrounding villages. SWO is proud to support Amina and The Yendi Project.
Join Us: Become a Member of SWO
Becoming a member of the Sufi Women Organization is a wonderful way to connect with a truly diverse group of like-minded people from around the world and across faiths while supporting the many humanitarian, social service projects of SWO. Participate with us in supporting the rights, lives and wellbeing of women, girls, families and communities around the world. Membership is open to all, and men are encouraged to join.
Support Women’s Rights * Education * Health Awareness * Clean Water & Immunizations * Women in Action Service Appreciation Grants
Women’s Wisdom Women In Action
Under the direction of Dr. Nahid Angha, the Sufi Women Organization hosts a semi-annual speaker presentation program, Women’s Wisdom: Women in Action. Through this program, SWO honors leaders, activists, and humanitarians who have provided exemplary services. SWO seeks to bring people together to learn, to build community, and to cultivate ways of living and working oriented toward dignity, health and service. See some of SWO’s featured speakers below, and learn more about the full program. We hope you’ll join us at an upcoming event! Click here to sign up for IAS newsletters, including SWO’s monthly email newsletter.
Dr. Shelly Wold
Dr. Shelly Wold is a practicing psychotherapist and currently works with a team of women at Thought Partners in Marin, CA, providing psychotherapy for adolescents and adults. She is also a mother and the founder and Executive Director of Positive Pathways, a play-based behavioral health agency.
Dr. Anya Dozier Enos
Dr. Anya Dozier Enos is member of Santa Clara Pueblo, with over 30 years of experience in Indian education. As Education Development Director at the tribally controlled Santa Fe Indian School, she focuses on innovative curriculum and professional development for educators of Native American students.
Linda Graham, MFT is a long-time psychotherapist, consultant and trainer who has spent more than two decades developing an interactive model for therapeutic transformation. She became a licensed marriage and family therapist in 1995, specializing in helping people reverse the impact of stress and trauma, manage anxiety and depression, loneliness and shame, and shift out of reactivity and contraction toward more openness, trust, compassionate connection, clarity, and wise choices. She seeks to help people turn regrettable moments into teachable moments, to recover a sense of resilience, centeredness and wholeness, and to develop the tools and confidence for thriving and flourishing. Her first book, Bouncing Back: Rewiring Your Brain for Maximum Resilience and Well-Being, was published in 2013, and integrated paradigms and practices of neuroscience with Western relational psychotherapy and Eastern contemplative practices, and includes more than 80 experiential exercises to strengthen the brain’s capacities to respond well even under intense stress. Her book Resilience: Powerful Practices for Bouncing Back from Disappointment, Difficulty, and Even Disaster, leads readers through an evidence-based trajectory of tools of somatic, emotional, relational, and reflective intelligences to face and cope with any adversity, recover personal strengths, and live a compassionate and courageous life. Learn more here.
Lucia Martel-Dow is the Director of Immigration and Social Services for Canal Alliance, a non-profit serving the local Latino community. She was appointed to the San Rafael City School Board, and also serves on the board of the Ritter Center. In her role as vice-chair of the Commission, Lucia brings a passionate commitment to the immigrant community in Marin as well as to issues of equity and justice for all children and families. Lucia attended the Universidad Central de Venezuela, where she earned a law degree, and UC Hastings College of the Law and earned a Master of Law degree in International Business and Trade.
Riffat Sultana channels the musical wisdom of 500 years and eleven generations of master musicians in her family in India and Pakistan. But in all those years, she is the first woman to sing in public. For a Muslim woman in a traditional country, such a career simply was not appropriate. Perhaps one reason her performances today have such overwhelming emotional power is that she sings for all the woman who never had that chance before. For Riffat, it took moving to the United States to free her musical soul. Now, her amazing voice is being heard around the world, including a featured spot in the 2004 “We Are The Future” concert, produced by Quincy Jones in Rome, Italy.
Featured Speaker Series Event
* A portion of event proceeds supported SWO’s 2022 Gifts of Peace Donation Drive. Thank you to all who attended, and we hope you will join us in 2023!
In November, The Women’s Wisdom: Women in Action program sponsored an event in our ongoing women’s health series featuring speakers Kahontakwas Diane Longboat and Belvie Rooks, longtime humanitarian activists and friends. Diane is a ceremonial leader, educator, spiritual activist, and traditional teacher from the Mohawk Nation, Turtle Clan. Belvie is a writer, educator, film producer, social and environmental justice advocate. Belvie and her husband, the poet and activist Dedan Gills, formed a deep relationship with Diane through a shared commitment to peace, healing, restoration of the earth, and respect for indigenous wisdom.
A Force Such as the World Has Never Known: Women Creating Change is a unique collection of narratives from women from around the globe. Stories of compassion and bravery, empowered by the vision of a better world for all life highlighting women’s wisdom.
The first volume of a series dedicated to the life stories and works of the Sufi women, in this case written by the women themselves. This volume forms a collection of the writings by selected Sufi women of the present time, from four different cultures and six Sufi turuq and Orders.
A glimpse at life stories, the poetry, and prayers of Sufis Khvajeh Abdullah Ansari, Hakim Omar Khayyam, Khvajeh Shamsuddin Mohammad Hafiz, Moulana Jalaluddin Balkhi (Rumi), Moulana Shah Maghsoud Sadegh Angha, and Ezzeddin Nasafi.
The wisdom sayings and selected teachings of Dr. Nahid Angha drawn from numerous sources and organized into categories including: Nature, Life, Heart, Longing, Love, Peace, Meditation and Transformation, The Journey, and Spiritual Discipline.
Arife Hammerle, Ph.D. holds a Juris Doctorate and Doctorate in Clinical Psychology and is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She has extensive experience working with clients on relationship development, self growth and communication issues in the Community Healing Centers program affiliated with the International Association of Sufism. She has written many articles and is frequently called upon to give lectures and lead workshops in psycho-spiritual knowledge, Sufi Principles and Practices and Meditation. Dr. Hammerle is a member of the SWO Council. Her work has always focused on social change for the advancement of women and girls. She is a member of the International Association of Sufism and a student of Sufism and an accomplished author who has completed research linking psychology and spirituality.
Sarah Hastings Mullin, Ph.D. is a member of the Sufi Women Organization council and a member of the International Association of Sufism. Having attended all girls’ schools and a women’s college she recognizes the gift she received in being well supported and empowered throughout her life and since has felt called to support other women. She is a clinical psychologist with a private practice. Her clinical interests include increasing self-esteem and self-confidence, especially for women, pregnancy/post partum, anxiety and existential/transpersonal explorations. Her dissertation and subsequent publications have focused on the potential for higher states of self-development and direct knowing as taught by Seyedeh Dr. Nahid Angha and Shah Nazar Seyed Dr. Ali Kianfar. She holds a second-degree black belt in Aikido.
Nancy Roybal has been active member of the SWO Council from 2012 to the present under the guidance of Dr. Nahid Angha, founder of the Sufi Women Organization (SWO), a department of the International Association of Sufism. She is the editor of the Sufi Women Quarterly Newsletter. She has served on the Harvest fundraising committee, and supports the recipients of the Women’s Wisdom Women in Action service appreciation grant program. Nancy is a key member of the Women Wisdom Women in Action lecture series committee and the Marin Interfaith Council board of directors. She is a women’s rights activist with a long history of promoting active relationships with international humanitarian organizations.